The Cleveland Browns are still seeking a win in 2016, and next Thursday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens may be the team’s best remaining chance.
It is getting to be that time of year when jokes about an 0-16 season for the Cleveland Browns slowly turn into a realistic possibility.
The feeling that this team will pull off a surprising win at some point begins to fade as each week provides fans with a new way to lose.
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The quest for a win does not get any easier this Sunday, as the 6-1 Dallas Cowboys head to town, led by rookie sensations Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. The Browns should have Cody Kessler back at quarterback, along with Corey Coleman in his return from a broken hand.
But the return of Cleveland’s rookies will likely not be enough to defeat the Cowboys, who are easily one of the top teams in the NFL right now, causing some to wonder why so many teams passed on Prescott. The Browns are one of them.
It is too early to chalk up the game as a loss, but the Browns will come in as heavy underdogs. So if this game ends like the first eight have, the Browns will have seven more chances to pick up a victory, including one next Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. And that game may be the Browns’ best remaining shot at preventing an 0-16 season.
It is tough to prepare for a game in a short week, but the Browns are facing a familiar opponent in the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens beat the Browns 25-20 in Week 2, with all 25 points being unanswered by the Browns.
If not for an injury to Josh McCown and a phantom taunting penalty on Terrelle Pryor on the final drive of the game, we may not even be having this 0-16 conversation.
Kessler will likely be the starter this time around, given he makes it through the Dallas game unscathed, which could be asking a lot of this offensive line. The Browns will also have Coleman back, and will be at their healthiest since the start of the season, given the Dallas game doesn’t turn into a disaster.
The familiarity with this Ravens team will help the Browns, especially considering Hue Jackson has coached in the AFC North the past few years. He understands how to prepare for the Ravens, although his current team has significantly less talent than his teams in Cincinnati.
Following this game, four division games remain, along with games against the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and San Diego Chargers. If they can’t catch the Ravens off-guard and pick up the win in primetime, 0-16 will only be six losses away.
There is also the chance the Browns beat the Cowboys this Sunday and put all these talks to rest. The Ravens game would still be winnable, potentially giving the team two wins in five days. One can dream.